Nigerians woke up on Monday morning to news that vice president Yemi Osinbajo, has officially declared his interest in succeeding his principal, Muhammadu Buhari, during next year’s general elections.
Osinbajo, who has served in the position for the last seven years, is already one of the favourites to clinch the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
However, the vice president will come up against credible opposition from the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who has since declared his ambition.
Tinubu is believed to have personally handpicked Osinbajo to be Buhari’s deputy before the 2015 elections.
With Osinbajo’s declaration, he is set to go head-to-head with the man that brought him to limelight.
Interestingly, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, also declared his intention to be President over the weekend.
The rumour mill went into overdrive that Amaechi is Buhari’s preferred candidate.
Osinbajo’s speech on Monday, however, was a charm offensive in the direction of the President.
He spoke about how he and Buhari have “worked through some of the most difficult times in the history of our Nation, but we have remained focused on securing the country, providing infrastructure and growing our economy.”
Osinbajo also noted that he “at the direction of Mr. President, represented our country in sensitive high level international engagements.”
This is clearly the pastor and professor asking Buhari for a stamp of approval, as someone who has stood by him loyally over the years, amid strong calls for him to resign as vice president.
One of Buhari’s media aide, Tolu Ogunlesi, put out a cryptic tweet on Sunday.
Ogunlesi wrote: “This is going to be the most hotly-contested presidential race in the history of Nigeria, for a number of reasons I do not have time to get into.”
At this rate, one suspects even the APC presidential primary will keep the entire nation glued to their TV set and social media pages.
But make no mistakes, Osinbajo, Amaechi and Tinubu are clearly the frontrunners. A lot will depend on who President Buhari decides to back.